Weekly Economic Update: August 14, 2023

The Markets (as of market close August 11, 2023)

The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq fell for the second straight week, while the Dow outperformed the benchmark indexes. Stocks have been relatively soft so far in August, which is not out of the ordinary. A slightly hotter-than-expected uptick in producer prices (see below) likely pushed Treasury yields higher, while cooling mega-cap growth shares, which are generally sensitive to interest rate movements. Several market sectors ended the week lower including information technology and consumer discretionary falling the furthest, while energy and health care advanced the most. Corporate earnings season for the second quarter is winding down. With roughly 85% of the S&P 500 companies reporting results, nearly 81% have beaten profit estimates. The dollar strengthened, while gold prices notched the worst weekly performance in over a month.


Last Week’s Economic News

  • Consumer prices rose in July. For the 12 months ended in July, consumer prices have risen 3.2%.
  • Prices producers received for goods and services rose in July after being flat in June and declining in May.
  • The goods and services trade deficit was $65.5 billion in June, down $2.8 billion, or 4.1%, from May.
  • The Federal Treasury budget deficit was $220.8 billion in July, marginally lower than the June deficit, but about $10.0 billion over the July 2022 deficit. Through 11 months of fiscal year 2023, the deficit sits at $1,613.4 trillion. Over the same period in fiscal year 2022, the deficit was $726.1 billion. In July, total government expenditures exceeded receipts by $220.7 billion.
  • The national average retail price for regular gasoline was $3.828 per gallon on August 7, $0.071 per gallon higher than the prior week’s price.
  • For the week ended August 5, there were 248,000 new claims for unemployment insurance, an increase of 21,000 from the previous week’s level. According to the Department of Labor, the advance rate for insured unemployment claims for the week ended July 29 was 1.1%.

Eye on the Week Ahead

The latest data on retail sales for July is released this week. June saw retail sales inch up 0.2%. Retail sales have increased between 0.1% and 0.4% since May after dropping 0.8% in April. The Federal Reserve’s report on industrial production is also out this week. Industrial production has declined each month since May, when it rose 0.5%.

Have a nice week!





Robert G. Carpenter

President & CEO
Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors